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O.R. Melling

Markham (Ont.), Penguin Books Canada, 1989. 201pp, cloth, $22.95
ISBN 0-670-81421-0. (A Viking book). CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by Brenda Watson.

Volume 17 Number 5
1989 September

O.R. Melling is a young author with Irish roots who now lives in Canada. She is a gifted wordsmith and weaves a spell of magic with description and metaphor. In her two previous fantasies, The Druid's Tune and The Singing Stone, haunting language and exciting plots resulted in exceptional literature for young people.

Her new novel, Falling Out of Time, is not as successful. The story exists on many different planes. The main character, Raffie Knight, both creates and stars in the interrelated tales. She is newly divorced from her husband, Damian, and goes to Ireland to write. There she meets Michael, a younger man similar to Damian in some respects. Raffie is already writing a fantasy in which there is a character called Michael. Raffie and Michael's love affair, segments from the book Raffie is writing, the fading in and out of two mystical magicians, the story of Raffie's marriage, and her dreams are interwoven into the narrative. The stories are almost mirror images of one another. Raffie wonders if her writing and her magic are creating her life.

The language is metaphor and symbol laden, but often exists for itself and not to advance the story. The transition from one story-line to another is intentionally vague, and the result is more disturbing than effective. The theme of reality creating unreality and vice versa is interesting, but its exploration in this novel is flat.

This book may be of interest to those who have read Melling's other novels, but the characters arc older and their relationships adult. The novel is self-conscious and does not have enough action and purpose to keep the reader interested.

Brenda Watson, Dunsmuir J.S. School, Victoria, B.C.
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